EMILY Alcantra loves hip hop dancing, cheerleading, playing netball and going to the movies with her friends – just like many other active teenage girls.
But she’s only alive because of regular blood transfusions.
Emily was born with the life-threatening blood disorder, thalassemia. The condition affects her ability to make red blood cells.
Royal Children’s Hospital pediatric haematologist Jeremy Robertson said Emily would have died in early childhood without monthly blood transfusions.
“Genetically, she can’t make enough haemoglobin so that she’s chronically anaemic,” he said.
Except for spending one day every four weeks in hospital receiving a litre of blood – equivalent to about three or four donations – Emily lives a “normal life”.
Emily, a Year 8 student at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills, on Brisbane’s northside, said she felt no different to her friends.
“It’s kind of like it’s not even there, despite the visits to hospital and stuff,” she said.
“I’m very, very grateful to the blood donors. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.”